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Airfreight Shows Slight Decline in August, Ocean Freight Picture Improves in Same Period

Uncertainty in the global market continues as the latest Stifel Logistics Confidence Index indicates a dip of 0.4 points in the overall measurement to 55.7. While the present situation remained positive, gaining 1.2 points from July to 53.5, the expected situation for the next six months stumbled 2.0 points to 57.9. This decline was particularly noticeable within airfreight expectations, which declined 3.3 points to 54.7. The sea freight expectation component declined 0.7 points to 61.0.

The overall airfreight index declined 1.6 points to 52.8 for August. The index is now just 2.4 points higher than August 2013 which indicates the airfreight market recovery remains fragile at best. The present situation increased just slightly by 0.1 points from July with the Asia-to-Europe and Europe-to-US lanes noting declines of 0.9 points and 1.0 points, respectively. This is in line with IATA’s recent data, which indicates the global airfreight market grew 2.3 percent over June 2013. That is slower than the 4.9 percent growth reported for May.

Perhaps more concerning is the expected situation which noted a large decline of 3.3 points to 54.7. All lanes recorded declines with Europe-to-US and Europe-to-Asia noting the largest at 4.8 points and 4.5 points, respectively. Is this an indication of a cloudy economic forecast or possibly the timing of the 2015 Chinese New Year?

The overall Sea Freight index increased 0.7 points to 58.5. The increase was due to a strong rise in the present situation which gained 2.2 points for the month. Three lanes noted increases while the US-to-Europe lane remained the same as in July.

Similar to the Air Freight expected situation, Sea Freight declined, but not as steeply. Down 0.7 points to 61.0, the outlook still remains good despite mixed results from trade lanes. The Asia-to-Europe expected situation declined the most for the month, down 3.0 points to 63.6 while US-to-Europe noted the biggest gain at 1.5 points to 59.2.

When survey respondents were asked if they have converted any airfreight to sea freight and/or ocean freight to airfreight in the past 12 months, the results were interesting: 48 percent noted they had indeed converted some airfreight to ocean freight whereas 38.7 percent indicated some conversion from sea freight to airfreight.

Source: Transport Intelligence

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